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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kevin Rudd vs. the Tooth Fairy

Dave the Journo bewails the state of public Dental Care in Oz

The other day I forked out 185 bucks - for a straightforward filling.

I probably could have asked for a payment extension (being on a disability pension)-but it's a small country practice and the staff liked to be paid on the day.

As I parted with - to me - a significant amount of cash,I wondered what had become of Team Rudd's "Denticare" plan.

The hole in my tooth had been filled-but there was a 'hole' in my pocket which would never be ... filled.

The "voucher" scheme, which allowed the not-so-well-off fringe dwellers to get treatment up to a cap, sorry, of about $500 a few years ago, had been "Jeff-ed" in our state by Kennett, keen to upgrade a grand prix track in Melbourne.

It has never been re-instated.

A couple of years ago...I paid more than $1000 for a root canal (this time I asked and got a payment extension).

But suppose I had not got the extension?

Out with the pliers I guess (the waiting list in our district for public dental treatment is more than 3 years),

I recall Jenny Brockie,the caring host of SBS' Insight programme, being absolutely shocked when a couple of old-aged pensioners pulled out pliers from their pockets,showed them to the camera, and demonstrated to Brockie & the aghast studio audience how they had pulled out their rotting teeth because of the over-flowing public dental waiting lists.

And we live in a First World country.

But Team Rudd has not surprisingly 'side-lined' its "Denticare" proposal.

I don't think it is even being discussed in one of Kev's famous parliamentary committees.

So I suggest: Bring back the "voucher" scheme - until the Government comes up with a workable public dental programme.

It will cut back to some extent the ridiculously over-stretched waiting lists.

But,my gut feeling is that the uncomplaining disadvantaged will continue to suffer - well,not quite in silence. A toothache hurts like hell.

Forget social welfare bodies like ACOSS who only make noises around Budget time - and the crusading and well-paid author Tim Costello...who doesn't take up the cudgels for the really Good Fight - but comes over well on TV.

Quotable Tim fills a hole,sorry again, on a slow news day.

I guess,as Father Dave, notes-there's more wailing and gnashing of teeth over the death of Michael Jackson than thousands of folk waiting to get their teeth fixed.

Something "rotten" in our State?


Blogger NSHQ said...

Typical governmental irresponsibility and lack of focus and purpose. If politicians the likes of Jeff Kennet would focus more on leadership of the needs of his state's citizens instead of trying to be a rock star by funneling millions into racing event infrastructure then we might start to get somewhere.
I thank heavens for having a good friend who is a dentist who has really looked after me in the past. Nowadays I live in Thailand where we have excellent dental care. A filling costs about $17!
Russ (an expatriate Aussie living in Thailand!)

10:05 AM  

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